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Australian boning room steering commitee visit to New Zealand

Project start date: 01 January 2004
Project end date: 01 June 2006
Publication date: 01 June 2006
Project status: Completed
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Over the past three years, MLA has been engaged in a strategic approach to developing a vision for an automated boning room for sheep. One of the significant contributors to the process and equipment design has been Scott Automation with four technologies currently under development (X-ray Sensing, Primal Cutting, Carcass Portioning and Middle/Saddle Processing).

This current suite of R&D projects are evolving and delivering on proposed benefits. This project involved a delegation of MLA, AMPC and processing industries representatives traveling to New Zealand to visit the Scott factory and engage in a discovery sprint to outline the next steps in sheep and beef processing automation.


The main objectives of this project were to:

  • commence discussions for the beef processing automation program of work 
  • review the developments completed and underway in smallstock automated boning and appreciate the true potential
  • undertake beef boning in New Zealand to compare Australian boning v New Zealand boning
  • develop an outline for a vision for an automated beef boning room.

Key findings

  • The Australian processors identified two tasks for Scott’s to investigate automating. These tasks are boning out the Aitchbone and boning out the Knuckle.
  • It was proposed that the processors involved in the discussions become the Australian Beef Automation Steering Committee (“the Committee”), in conjunction with MLA and AMPC.
  • AMPC and MLA requested that Scott’s provide MLA with a proposal (attached) to automate these 2 tasks to 2 different levels:
    • a Manual Assistance Device, which performs the pulling task to aid a manual boner (this proposal)
    • full automation of the tasks (proposed as a syndicated Plant Initiated Project).

Benefits to industry

The automation of sheep processing has already shown significant improvements to yield with a value gained of $7.70 per head. This steering committee project set out to the path to achieve this and begun the planning stage for an equivalent automation program of beef boning.

MLA action

MLA has worked closely with Scott’s and the Australian beef industry to establish an automated beef boning program.

Related MLA projects

A.TEC.0110; P.PSH.0619; P.PSH.0635; P.PSH.0238; P.PSH.0479; A.TEC.0062; A.TEC.0058; A.TEC.0051; A.TEC.0047; A.TEC.0042; A.TEC.0041; A.TEC.0124 A.TEC.0105; P.PIP.0231; P.PIP.0370; A.TEC.0120; A.TEC.0122; P.MDC.0015; P.MDC.0022; A.EVA.0001; P.MDC.0023; P.MDC.0026; P.PSH.0626; A.TEC.0115; A.ENV.0091; A.ENV.0117; A.TEC.0076; P.PIP.0213; P.PIP.0269; P.PSH.0327; P.PSH.0385; P.PSH.0395; P.PSH.0509; P.PSH.0585; A.OHS.0053; A.PIA.0149; A.PIA.0151; A.PIA.0164; P.MDC.0007; A.TEC.0059; A.SCT.0054; A.SCA.0004; A.OHS.0048; A.HSE.0004; A.HSE.0002; A.PIA.0139; A.PIA.0136; A.PIA.0100; A.TEC.0053; A.TEC.0050; A.OHS.0035; A.PIA.0072; A.PIA.0071; A.SCT.0036; A.SCC.0014; P.PSH.0248; P.PSH.0247; P.PSH.0245; P.PSH.0244; P.PSH.0243; P.PSH.0242; P.PSH.0235; A.PIA.0064; A.SCI.0002

More information

Project manager: David Beatty
Primary researcher: Sean Starling